Akame ga KILL! finally delivers the confrontation between sisters readers have been waiting for, so picking Volume 13 up is a must.

Akame ga Kill! Volume 13Title: Akame ga Kill! (Akame ga Kiru!)
Genre: Action
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Writer: Takahiro
Artist: Tetsuya Tashiro
Serialized in: Gangan Joker
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Original Release Date: January 30, 2018
Review copy provided by Yen Press.

Since the very beginning, Akame ga KILL! has been hyping up the tragic battle between Akame and Kurome. The two sisters care for each other deeply, but Kurome could never betray the Empire, her precious benefactor. Now, finally, after 13 (lengthy) volumes, the much-hyped showdown finally occurs — and, more surprisingly, is shown in full. So was it worth the wait?

Of course, Akame ga KILL! Volume 13 doesn’t open with their battle. (This volume continues the tradition of being quite long for a non-omnibus. So yes, it does take a bit to get there.) Tatsumi is still struggling with Incursio taking over his body, and the Empire still has the advantage over the Rebellion when it comes to sheer numbers. While Akame’s presence in the story has been in and out at times despite being the titular character, this time around, she is truly the star. Even before challenging Kurome, she goes out on a solo mission to narrow down the enemy’s forces.

While the term “supporting role” often has negative connotations or are the very least are considered secondary, the few remaining members of Night Raid truly put the “supporting” back in that phrase. They respect Akame’s wishes to confront Kurome without interference. It’s very rare for the male and female leads to have such a bond of trust without any romantic undertones. I applaud both Takahiro and Tashiro for showing that great partners don’t necessarily mean great marriage partners. Their relationship also provides a stark contrast to Kurome and Wave’s. Wave has always seemed to pay extra attention to Kurome, and now he realizes how her days may be numbered. Like Kurome, he can’t see himself betraying the Empire, but an encounter with Akame of all people shakes his heart.

But no matter how he feels, the sisters have fundamental disagreements. This is certainly a rare case of two former best friends or relatives fighting not because one has been corrupted by evil or power but a question of loyalty and honor. Akame and Kurome sharing a moment before taking up their blades was my favorite part of the volume, unlike their slightly disappointing battle. Kurome’s Teigu gives her a necromancer ability, and, being already dead, would mean Akame’s Murasame can’t curse them. As such, I expected a fierce battle between the two, but it was pretty one-sided. Meanwhile, Esdeath is seen once again powering up during this volume, so I guess all the secret techniques will be saved until the battle with her. The most impressive display of power comes from Wave, but his entrance and exit is dominated by speeches.

Again, I love a lot of the characterization and character growth here, but the fights feel lackluster in contrast. I imagine it’s a bit of the calm before the storm, but perhaps it might have been better if the confrontation with Kurome either took place more than the day before the fight or during the middle of the war instead of as a prelude?

My gripes with the narration continue, but it’s mostly restricted to Akame and Wave’s encounter where she clearly has the upper hand. As such, not actually showing Wave getting frustrated isn’t as big of a deal as some other battles. Tatsumi’s dragon transformation is still visually impressive while the blood and fanservice were minimal here. I also feel like I need to go back and reread the previous volumes, as I don’t remember Tatsumi calling Leone “Sis”, or at least not so often.

Akame ga KILL! finally delivers the confrontation between sisters readers have been waiting for, so it would be almost silly for any reader of the series to not pick up this volume. The supposed tragic reunion didn’t quite live up to its build-up, but the various relationships between the remaining Jaegers and Night Raid members make up for the second-rate battles.